Life as a man is tricky – make no mistake. It’s undoubtedly true that the media has long since had it in for women – tearing apart their appearances and selling the resulting dissection back to them in glossy magazines – yet men hardly escape scot free.
Take, for example, this article from the Daily Mail:
Sorry, guys, life doesn’t begin at 40 any more! Most men now only feel settled at 54 (is that you, Simon Cowell?)
If you’re a man who’s looking forward to fulfilling the old maxim of life beginning at 40, you may be disappointed.
The stresses of modern life mean you could be forced to wait an extra 14 years to reach that point of contentment and security, a survey suggests.
Traditionally 40 was the age when a man was able to start enjoying life after having achieved a level of financial stability and with his children approaching self-sufficiency.
But it seems men these days will have to wait until they are 54 before feeling settled.
Source: Daily Mail, 29th October 2013
Life is stressful, and you’d be a fool to go thinking it’s going to change any time soon, fellas. Best grin and bear it, ‘man up’, and conform to those various other stereotypes society silently foists upon you – whether knowingly or unknowingly. Stereotypes don’t arise overtly, but by the self-perpetuating, self-exaggerating effects of repetition, often seemingly innocuous, but equally often as a side effect of other processes… which takes us back to this particular piece of PR in the Daily Mail (and the Telegraph, and the Irish Independent), and the specific male insecurity targeted for commercial exploitation:
The poll of 1,000 men looked at the top male insecurities with the fear of never being able to pay for their home topping the list.
The second biggest is losing their hair, the third, losing their job and the fourth is not being in a settled relationship.
Which of these is the insecurity the company behind this story are looking to exploit? Are they a recruitment consultant? An estate agent or building society? Not this time; instead:
The poll, by the hair transplant centre Crown Clinic found most men start to describe themselves as ‘happy’ and ‘content’ rather than ‘stressed’ and ‘self-conscious’ at 54.
That’s right, this whole story is just an advert for a baldness cure – while science has us a step removed from the huckster snake oil baldness cures of old, the ethos is still the same: to sell a solution, first convince your consumer he has a problem. Thus, the stereotypical fear of hair loss and the sense of physical insecurity it creates is both exploited and strengthened, all in the name of sales.